nycTWG’s letter to de Blasio on technology and transition

Jennifer Jones Austin & Carl Weisbrod

Mayor-Elect de Blasio Transition Committee

December 18, 2013

Dear Co-Chairs Austin and Weisbrod:

We write today to draw your attention to the historic opportunity the de Blasio administration has to harness the explosion in everyday Internet and mobile technology. This new technology can help the average New Yorker get the greatest benefit from their city government, and help your administration better marshall the city’s resources to serve the public.

As a candidate for mayor, Bill de Blasio told technologists:

“I believe there should be a top-level position that oversees technology and innovation at a citywide level, across agencies. Titles can be sorted out post-election.”

We agree. There is a clear need for the de Blasio administration to do what large businesses and the federal government do, which is to effectively coordinate across agencies, to ensure that all agencies use the best practices in technology, procurement, and digital content management. Managing technology across all agencies is beyond the capacity and authority of a shared service agency like DOITT, and far exceeds the existing authority and responsibility of NYC Digital.

Our groups strongly support New York City’s open data law, and have seen how powerful it is to use technology for data analytics and performance management, both at City Hall and within agencies. The de Blasio administration should build on this by doing even more with data analytics, and by getting the greatest value from expensive data collection and analysis by making that information publicly available and usable. Pulling together the city’s disparate digital information and technology is a big challenge, but it is the operational underpinning of many of your policy goals.

We wish you good luck as you search for the next generation of technology and innovation leaders, and appreciate your consideration of our views.


Gene Russianoff
Senior Attorney, NYPIRG
Co-Chair, NYC Transparency Working Group

Noel Hidalgo
BetaNYC, a Code for America Brigade

Dick Dadey
Executive Director
Citizens Union

Susan Lerner
Executive Director
Common Cause NY

John Kaehny
Executive Director, Reinvent Albany 
Co-Chair, NYC Transparency Working Group

Cathy Gray
Vice President
League of Women Voters of New York City

Frank Hebbert